A wish come true
All he had was a few memories from a time long ago when the family spent six months living with his late aunt. They were glorious months of peace, made more romantic for being the final time that the two Queen ships (Mary and Elizabeth) were in port at the same time for the last time http://alsdomain.weebly.com/at-the-blogstop/memories-of-the-queens#.WctY7EuGPrc .
Being a writer, the irony of his train journey wasn't lost on him. He was in a backward facing seat, going back to a time long ago when he was at peace.
Queen Mary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary later set off to become a tourist attraction at Long Beach, Califonia, while her sister ship Queen Elizabeth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Elizabeth#Final_years set off in the other direction for Hong Kong, where she was involved in a fire and left like a wreck; a terrible end to such a magnificent vessel.
During WW2, despite being Merchant ships both Queens were relentlessly hunted by the German Navy, and never caught as they could outrun any ship on the seas.
He has memories of a city rich in history with a beautiful Medieval gate at its centre, he had no idea what to expect when he arrived back after so long; but what he saw horrified him.
With time, the centre had been turned into what amounted to a tacky amusement park in his eyes.
The main reason for the journey was to fulfil a promise he made to himself that he would return to say his farewell to his beloved aunt, who he missed, even though it was over 30 years since her passing.
As he walked back through the parks with tears in his eyes, he thought "I made the trip back, Aunty Mabel.
I will keep my schoolboy memories of the city with me for all times, not what I've seen today.